Current Exhibits

Beholdings: Fourteen Introductions to the History Around Us

Closed for the Season at the Somesville Museum and Gardens

Inspired by the 2018 Chebacco, this exhibit presents vignettes of objects and human-influenced landscapes to engage visitors in a meaningful exploration of regional histories. Featured items span the island, including a 1913 Type 150 Peugeot Skiff on display at the Seal Cove Auto Museum, the foundation of Oldfarm, the family home of Acadia National Park founder, George B. Dorr; nineteenth-century shoe fragments found in a house on Great Cranberry Island, and a pair of running shoes that helped an Iraq War veteran return to civilian life. Click here to learn more.

Stained Glass Windows of Mount Desert Island

Re-opening June 27, 2020 at the Somesville Museum & Gardens

This exhibit features photographs by Artist-in-Residence Jennifer Steen Booher, who photographed stained glass from throughout the Mount Desert Island region for our 2019 issue of Chebacco. Her photographs show the luminous beauty of these artworks.  Many of these windows have never been seen before by most people who live on or visit Mount Desert Island.





School Desk Restored

Sound Schoolhouse  – The Village of Sound and Island Schools

Permanent Exhibit at the Sound Schoolhouse.

The permanent exhibit at the Sound Schoolhouse, located at 373 Sound Drive in Mount Desert, tells of the schools and schoolhouse on the Mount Desert Island around the turn of the 20th century. It focuses on the Sound Schoolhouse, the Village of Sound, and the eventual restoration of the schoolhouse for the Mount Desert Island Historical Society. This exhibit is open Monday through Friday from 10 am to 4 pm. Admission is by donation.


Past Exhibits

Somesville: A Sense Of Place

Selectmen’s Building – open June to September, daily 10 am to 4 pm

The 2017 installation of Somesville: A Sense of Place in the Selectmen’s Building was made possible through a grant from the Lynam Foundation and support from the Town of Mt. Desert. The exhibit includes a touchscreen display that allows visitors to select between six short films.

At the start of the project, the Historical Society conducted interviews with six residents of MDI, ages 11 to 80, about their relationship to the village of Somesville. Through this exhibit, we intended not only to explore the different narratives that create a “sense of place,” but also to contrast and find common ground within their shared placed-ness. As the Historical Society expands its collection of oral histories, we will continue to make these stories accessible through this virtual exhibit.

Below, you can watch a 15-minute film portrait of the town, directed by Brendan O’Keefe with footage by Peter Logue, and curated by Eloise Schultz. If you’d like to be involved in the ongoing MDI Oral History project, please contact Eloise at

Fire of 1947

Fire of 1947: An interactive story of the great fire of 1947.

A virtual exhibit explores the Fire of 1947 and its wide swath of destruction through newsreels, newspaper accounts, diaries, letters, and first-hand memories. There is an interactive map showing where and when the fire raged. The exhibit is completely virtual and can only be accessed through this link.

Before Acadia: Adventure and Discovery

The origins of Acadia National Park can be found in a group of Harvard University students who spent summers on Mount Desert Island during the 1880s and ‘90s. They were bright, funny and energetic, but also very committed to the appreciation and understanding of this beautiful island. Calling themselves the “Champlain Society,” they conducted systematic natural history surveys of the island’s flora and fauna, geology, and weather. During the course of their summer studies, they became concerned about the island’s future. This concern carried into their adult lives and led ultimately to the founding of Acadia National Park.

This exhibit was displayed in the Somesville Museum during the summers of 2016 and 2017. To view this exhibit, the Mount Desert Island Historical Society has created a 360-degree tour. Click here to enter the exhibit.

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